Marco Manart

The first stockfish importer in venice

In this article written by Alessandro Marzo Magno, the myth of Querini as the first importer of Stockfish is challenged. It seems that Marco Manart is the merchant who brought the white gold to the Venetians.

The Baccalà – that is what the Stockfish is for the rest of the world – officially arrived for the first time in Venice in 1596 thanks to a merchant from Antwerp, named Marco Manart. He submits a petition to the Senate to obtain a reduction in tariffs on fish called “stocvis”, on whale oil and on other unspecified fish, perhaps herring, as he will write in later documents. He specifies that this “mercantia” – never previously arrived in Venice – has traded by land in Trento, Bolzano and Villach. Manart, on the other hand, undertakes to import the “bacaladi” by sea and will be the first to do so. The story is told in the book “Serenissimo baccalà”, published by Biblioteca dei Leoni, which has as its authors Ermanno Tagliapietra, the main importer of Stockfish in Italy (born in Burano, headquarters of the company in Mestre) and Michela Dal Borgo, from the Archive of state of Venice.

And what about Pietro Querini, the patrician merchant who shipwrecked in Lofoten in 1432 and discovered for the first time this strange fish stiff as a stick? You can download the article in English and Italian.

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